Wednesday, September 3, 2008

How to find peace

They have healed the wound of my people lightly saying, "Peace, peace," when there is no peace. Jeremiah 6:14

George Whitefield (1714-1770) made the case that, to find peace, we must see four hard things about ourselves. Then we can take the final step into peace.

One, we must see our actual, chosen violations of the law of God.

Two, we must see the source of our sinful choices, and that is our warped nature we can't opt out of.

Three, we must see the evil in our obedience as well. "You must be brought to see that God may damn you for the best prayer you ever put up. . . . If you never felt the deficiency of your own righteousness, you cannot come to Jesus Christ."

Four, we must see "what most of you think you are not guilty of -- and that is, the sin of unbelief. . . . Were you ever made to bewail a hard heart of unbelief? Was it ever the language of your heart, 'Lord, give me faith'?"

Finally, "you must be enabled to lay hold upon the perfect righteousness, the all-sufficient righteousness, of the Lord Jesus Christ, . . . and then you shall have peace."

A hard path, a soft destination. There is no other way.

J. C. Ryle, Select Sermons of George Whitefield, pages 75-95.